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One event I really wanted to go to this year was the Oetz Trophy. Which used to be called the Adidas Sickline back in the day, but since 2017 Adidas stopped doing this huge event. Luckily, some Austrian locals made it happen again, Big Ups to them because since we don’t have that many Extreme Races, it was a shame to see this one go away.
So anyway It was my first time going there for racing as, I’ve been there in 2015 for the Sickline but was to young to compete… Then they stopped and last year for the first Edition of the Oetz Trophy, we had the European Championships for freestyle that I had to go to.

So yeah super excited to go there this year, coming to the race, I wasn’t sure what place I could hope for. But I knew I was going to give it all, especially after 1 year and half getting fit in my slalom boat.
Most of you have seen the Final Course but It’s actually a different course for the preliminaries. It starts at the very end of the same course and it continues for 250m afterwards on some class 3 rapids, so people that are strong definitely have an advantage on this one. On my first run I charged really hard, and had to make a couple of correction strokes which cost me some time, but I was still 15th out of 150 and they were taking the Top 80th. Even tho we had a second run, I knew I was in the next round.

From there we were doing the Quarter Finals, but first we had to wake up pretty early to make a mandatory run so that the organisation knew we had the level to race on the Upper part. Which we did, two chill laps, went great, happy with the lines, and came back to the house to chill.
Quarter Finals were ON, Top 30 move on, I had to go hard but I always try to preserve myself and not go too hard before finals. Did a nice run, was in the lines, didn’t charge too much on flatwater but was still on a good time. Came out 13th I think.
Next round is the Head to Head, a very interesting round as the 1st goes against the 30th, the 2nd vs 29th… and best of the two goes in the next round. My partner was Huw Butterworth which is a friend and also the guy that let me stay at his house for the last week to train. AHA
However, it was fun to race against him, went first, did a 1:00.27, which is a OK time but he could do better. Unfortunately, he messes up in the TNT Cataracts which is crucial and lost quite a bit of time and so was behind me. Was definitely stoked for me but bummed for him, but I guess that’s just how it goes.

Now I was in Finals tho, had to refocus. I knew I could get a much better time but it had to be perfect. But I guess just like everyone.
Went back home to rest and watch some more line.

Got geared up and it was time to go.

Was feeling good at the Top, I knew that I had to give it all this time, even on the flatwater. Dropped off the ramp, a bit of a wrong timing on the first boof; didn’t skip too far so had to charge the flatwater.
Got around the corner, boofed, lift my left knee to go in between the rocks, then slided down the next one. There was one rapid I couldn’t miss was the TNT cataracts, so I prepared really good, had a nice and fast line through it. At this point, I was just 0.9s behind Vavra that was the leader.
But unfortunately, I got pushed too far to the left which wasn’t ideal for the Minus rapid… So it made me clip the rock I was supposed to go left of, definitely cost me some time but wasn’t too bad.

However the biggest mistake was for sure at the last rapid, on the one and only « Champions Killer ». I was completely on the left so I had to be pointing right to not hit the rock, and so of course as I skipped, it sent me to the right channel, which is definitely slower. That’s probably where I lost most of the time. However, still stoked with this run even though it wasn’t my best. Ended up 13th in Finals. It was for sure a very stacked finals, so stoked to be racing with the best paddlers in the World.
Since I started kayaking, I have always watched the Sickline race and it has always been a dream to be in a Final here in Oetz. For sure will be back !!!